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david robertson

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About david robertson

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    Chatty concertinist
  • Birthday 06/08/1948

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    Full-time restorer and tuner of concertinas, part-time abuser of a 38k Jeffries Anglo. I also arrange for and sing with a 3-part harmony group called Poacher.
  • Location
    Norwich, England

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  1. Hi Geoff, Using Bob Tedrow's method, I make bellows of any size using cylindrical jigs - most recently, a big baritone set for Theo Gibb. Geometry being what it is, you don't actually need a jig with 6 or 8 sides... just a tube of the appropriate size. This, of course, applies only to bellows of symmetrical shape. For asymmetric bellows, a custom-made jig would be indispensable, and frankly, it's not worth making one when it would probably never be used again!
  2. Comprehensively restored, with new 7-fold gold-tooled bellows, this is as nice a 38k Jeffries as you could hope to find. As always, the restoration work includes new pads, valves, bushes and straps. The woodwork has been stripped and refinished in French polish, and the instrument has been tuned to modern concert pitch (A=440Hz). It's not unusual to find a fairly eccentric keyboard layout with Jeffries instruments, but I have ironed out most of the eccentricities in this one, and restored it to a more typical layout (though one or two oddities remain!) You'll find a full dia
  3. Of course... I really must resist the temptation to post messages before I'm fully awake!
  4. Bear in mind that English thumbstraps are composite devices, made up of a sandwich of canvas, chamois or felt, and thin leather, all enclosing the L-shaped steel or brass former.
  5. A stonking example of a rare and desirable instrument - a Model 16 baritone-treble, serial number 35035, which goes all the way down to a window-rattling F2. It has new pads, valves, bushes and straps, and I have refinished the woodwork in French polish. The original 8-fold bellows are immaculate and airtight, and although the nickel-plated ends were in lovely condition when it came in, I have taken the opportunity to have them professionally re-polished. It comes in its original tan leather case, also in lovely condition (though I had to make a new handle using old strapping, so it
  6. Personally, I always install the gussets before the linen top-runs. I hold the ends together temporarily with wee bits of masking tape.
  7. I think you may find that 0.9mm is a bit heavy, particularly for the gussets. Personally, I use 0.5mm, which, allowing for natural variation, is pretty close to Alex's recommendation.
  8. It might do if one had a supply of spare Jeffries reeds... and a pair of non-mutilated Jeffries ends!
  9. Just when I thought I'd seen it all... the 'Duet' turns out to have been converted from a 38k Anglo, with bits of fretwork removed to make way for extra buttons on the innermost rows. The air-button hole has been blocked up, and new inboard reed slots routed out where it used to be. I've seen Duets converted to Anglos, but this is the first time I've seen one switched in the other direction - a bit of vandalism that I imagine has knocked the value back by 75%!
  10. I have a Jeffries Duet coming in soon for restoration, but it's the first of its kind I've tackled in 15 years, and I'm not familiar with the layout. Does any kind soul out there have a diagram that they would be willing to share?
  11. I have a special bodging tool for just this job... an old teaspoon with the handle end ground to a bluntish edge and bent up through 90°. The sharp edge is inserted under the chamois, which can then be prised up. If you're replacing rather than shimming the seals, cut strips of chamois a bit wider than necessary, and first glue them to the inside of the bellows frames. Then go round with a hole punch to make the holes for the end bolts, before stretching and gluing the chamois over the frame edges. Press the frame down on a cutting mat, outside edge down, and use a scalpel or craft knife
  12. These instruments, made specially for Harry Boyd's Newcastle music store, are rare and sought-after - and this is, by some distance, the best one that has passed through my hands in 15 years. In fact, the condition was so good and original when I acquired it that I have resisted the temptation to do anything externally other than clean and polish the ends and the woodwork, and fit new thumb-straps. Internally, I have replaced all pads, valves and bushes, and tuned the instrument to modern concert pitch. (It's a cracking set of reeds, by the way - as fast and responsive as you could w
  13. Returning to the air-tightness issue, the one obvious thing that no-one seems to have mentioned is the possibility of leakage around the edges of the reedpans. If the chamois seals are old and compressed, there's a pretty good chance that they won't be doing their job properly. In the worst case, you'll be able to see the gaps just by moving the reedpans by hand, but even if they're not that loose, go round the edges with a 15 thou feeler gauge. If there are places where you can slip the gauge in, you need to lift the chamois seal and glue in a strip of thin card underneath to take up the slac
  14. This instrument has now been sold via my website.
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